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5 Lessons I’ve Learned as an Empath

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNCW chapter.

Within the past year or so of my personal wellness journey, I had been experiencing overwhelming feelings of sadness and uncertainty without really knowing why or where it was coming from. I’ve always been really in-tune with the energy and emotions of the people I’m around, and it wasn’t until I went to therapy that I realized that I’m an empath. I’d suggest looking into what it means to be an empath before making any assumptions, but here are five things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. You won’t always understand why you feel the way you do. This is because, as an empath, we absorb and carry energy from every person and interaction we have, which can ultimately lead us to feel uneasy and holding onto something that we don’t even know where we got it from. I have struggled with this on and off, but learning more about myself and becoming more self-aware of my own emotional patterns has helped me become more at ease with this idea.
  2. Boundaries are critical. Before I had a better understanding of this part of myself, I often allowed my time and energy to become depleted by those in my life and didn’t understand why they were getting so depleted. This is no fault to anyone; this change simply relied on me understanding what boundaries made me the most comfortable, and we are all entitled to defining our own boundaries.
  3. Some people are energy vampires. All relationships and interactions are an exchange of energy. Some people make you feel lifted and energized, and some people just drain it out of you. You must figure out to what extent someone’s energy is draining you, and how much time you are able to spend with them. Being an empathic person is an amazing gift that can be very valuable to people who rarely receive that kind of understanding, which can lead them to take advantage of this side of you, most likely without even realizing it. Be mindful of this and empower your relationships with boundaries.
  4. Stop expecting people to feel and understand the way you do. Anyone can benefit from learning the need to adjust your expectations of people in your life, but, as an empathic person, this is especially important. Most humans have an innate sense of empathy, but for empathic people, theories suggest that we have hyper-sensitive mirror neurons, responsible for compassion and understanding. If you’re a true empath, understanding that everyone doesn’t have the same thoughts and feelings might not actually be that difficult, HA.
  5. You can’t help in every situation. As an empath, because we are so in-tune with the negative energy around us and deeply understand the emotions of others, it is easy to feel the need to be the problem-solver. This is another way that energy vampires can take advantage of us— because we understand, we want to help. However, this can often lead to ignoring our own mental health and well-being because by taking on so much of someone else’s experience, it can blur the lines between what is theirs and what is yours.
Julia is currently a Senior at UNCW studying Business, concentrating in Marketing and minoring in Spanish. She hopes to pursue a career in marketing for a company working towards environmental sustainability and stewardship. Her humorous and honest disposition shows through her writing here at Her Campus. Some of her favorite hobbies include painting, pottery, yoga, cooking and making people laugh.